ISSN: 1522-5658
Volume 16 (2014)

Five Options for the Relationship between the State and Sharia Councils: Untangling the Debate on Sharia Councils and Women’s Rights in the United Kingdom

Machteld Zee, Leiden University, The Netherlands
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Religious Modernism, Nationalism, and Antisemitism in Polish Catholicism and Egyptian Islam

Paul Brykczynski, University of Michigan
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

A Sign of the Times: Catholic Advocacy for Social Justice in Nkrumah’s Ghana, 1958

Baba G. Jallow, Creighton University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Tawḥīd al ’uluhiyya, Secularism, and Political Islam

Johan Eddebo, Uppsala University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Faith, Sport and Disengaged Youth

Ruth Graveling, Mike Collins, and Andrew Parker, University of Gloucestershire, UK
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Islam and Assimilation in the West: Religious and Cultural Ingredients in American Muslim Experience

John H. Morgan, Graduate Theological Foundation
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Revisiting Sacred Metaphors: A Religious Studies Pedagogical Response to the Rise of the Nones

Terry Shoemaker, Western Kentucky University
William Simpson, Louisville, KY
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

How Christians and Muslims Can Embrace Religious Diversity and Each Other: An Evangelical Perspective

Benjamin B. DeVan, University of Durham, UK and Emory University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

African Initiated Churches, Pivotal in Peace-Building: A Case of the Johane Masowe Chishanu

Obediah Dodo, Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe
Richard G. Banda, Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe
Gloria Dodo, Zimbabwe Open University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Welcoming the Stranger: Religion and Attitudes toward Social Justice for Immigrants in the U.S.

Theresa Davidson, Samford University
Carlos Garcia, San Jose State University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Aspects of Muscular Christianity in Norway and the United States: A Historiographical Comparison

Nils Martinius Justvik, University of Agder, Norway
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Biting the Poor: On the Difference between Credit and Debt in Ancient Israel and Southwest Asia

Roland Boer, Renmin University of China, Beijing, and University of Newcastle, Australia
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Diverse Religious Coalitions and Legislator Voting

Fred Van Geest, Bethel University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Overcoming the “Religion and Politics” Discourse: A New Interpretation of the Israeli Case

Yaacov Yadgar, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Congruence and Concatenation in Jewish Mystical Literature, American Freemasonry, and Mormon Enoch Writings

Cheryl L. Bruno, Redmond, WA
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

“If We Don’t Do It, No One Will”: Some Sociological Considerations on the Ukrainian Greco Catholic Church in Canada

Richard Rymarz, University of Alberta
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Latino Attitudes Toward Abortion and Marriage Equality: Examining the Influence of Religiosity, Acculturation, and Non-Response

Regina Branton, University of North Texas
Ana B. Franco, University of Texas – Pan American
Jim Wenzel, University of Texas – Pan American
Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas – Pan American
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Some Preliminary Comments on the Formation of Online Religious Identities: A Case Study of the Internet-Hinduin India's Cyberspace

Denzil Chetty, University of South Africa
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

& Opinions

Reshoring, Automation, and the Catholic Framework for Economic Life

William J. Raynor III, Southern Wesleyan University
[ Opinion PDF ]

What is Enlightenment? An Islamic Perspective

M. A Muqtedar Khan, University of Delaware
[ Abstract ] [ Opinion PDF ]

Review Essays

Britain's Pagan Heritage: A Review of Ronald Hutton's Pagan Britain and Marion Gibson's Imagining the Pagan Past

Ethan Doyle White, London, UK
[ Review Essay PDF ]

This study clarifies the positions in the debate on Sharia councils and women's rights in the UK by identifying the arguments for and against state accommodation of Sharia councils. In light of these arguments as well as practice and legal theory, a conceptual framework of five options a state may have is presented: i) full accommodation; ii) partial independent accommodation; iii) partial dependent accommodation; iv) no accommodation, no intervention; v) state intervention. It concludes that proponents argue in favor of "partial dependent accommodation," but that the UK, in reality, practices "no accommodation, no intervention," which has led to a bill in favor of state intervention.

The Arbitration Act of 1996 provides legal jargon for religious tribunals, and under the alternative dispute resolution Sharia councils have been able to function. Sharia councils, however, do not mediate or arbitrate. The raison d'être of Sharia councils is dealing with one-party divorce requests based on religious law.
The two regions most commonly associated with antisemitism, whether fairly or not, are interwar Eastern Europe and, more recently, the Arab Middle East. However, while East European antisemitism is usually seen as "primordial" and having deep roots in Christianity, its Middle Eastern counterpart is generally perceived as exquisitely modern and having relatively little to do with traditional Islam. Therefore, even though Christian East European and Muslim Middle Eastern variants of antisemitism may make use of the similar myths and tropes, their respective histories and underlying causes appear to be quite different, and it may seem that little could be gained from studying them side by side. This paper presents the argument that studying East European and Middle Eastern antisemitism side by side is not only methodologically admissible but can lead to illuminating insights. The paper focuses on the two regions' largest states, Poland and Egypt, and lays the groundwork for a more detailed examination of the manner in which Christian and Islamic traditions interacted with modern nationalist ideologies in the discursive construction of "the Jews" as a universal enemy.
The Ghana Catholic Church's advocacy for social justice predated Vatican II thanks to her early encounter with independence in 1957. Throughout 1958, the Church in Ghana engaged the government of Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah in a robust dialogue on social justice. Through The Standard, her National Catholic weekly, the Church directed a steady stream of communication to the state on issues of social justice that approximate key lessons of Catholic Social Teaching on respect for human dignity and concern for truth and justice. The Ghana Church's advocacy for justice was a sign of the times that reflected the mind of Pope John XXIII and what happened at the Second Vatican Council.
In this paper, a particular aspect of the Islamic notion of tawḥīd is described and explored with regard to its consequences for Islam's relationship to secular society. It is argued that strains of Islam informed by the widespread, orthodox interpretation of this tawḥīd al 'uluhiyya, or "the oneness of creation's worship of God," cannot be coherently harmonized with the notion of a secular, political order wherein religion and the public sphere are strictly separated. On this basis, it is then argued that inclusion of non-secular political Islam within the framework of liberal democracy is likely a preferable development in the interests of minimizing future international and domestic conflict, and supporting autonomous popular rule in Islamic states.
Set against a backdrop of faith-based explorations of sport with disengaged youth, the present paper presents findings from a project which sought to re-engage young people with sport via Christian youth ministry. Locating project participants at the center of the analysis, the paper draws on empirical data from participant-observation and semi-structured interviews with six respondents to analyze the effects of sports training provision on the lives of those concerned. Although several sports ministry organizations work with both Christians and non-Christians, to date none appear to have been focused on the training of non-Christian young people to become sports leaders while at the same time exploring the Christian faith. The principal aim of the present study is to explore whether sports leadership training is a relevant and successful way of exploring a series of Christian beliefs, principles, and values. The secondary aim is to assess the impact of the sporting provision on the participants themselves. Findings suggest that all project participants reported that the Academy had a significant impact on their lives. The paper concludes that the project was successful in broadening the personal and spiritual life experiences of participants citing opportunities around inclusion, achievement, and increased self-worth as the most important outcomes.
This essay is an exploration into the social inevitabilities of culture shifts within the American Muslim community's self-understanding of their faith. Rather than a theological explication of the reasons Islam may or may not, or can or cannot, assimilate in America, my approach will be strictly sociological, thereby side-stepping the intricate dialectic of theological niceties in deference to the social realities of culture change. As a social psychologist, my duty is to acknowledge the inevitabilities of behavioral shifts brought about by social and cultural pressures resulting from immigration into an alien cultural weltanschauung, i.e., worldview. Therefore in this essay, I will explicate the meaning and nature of de-ethnicization and re-enculturation as I endeavor to disentangle religion from culture, recognizing that much of what goes under the flag of religious orthodoxy is really culturally mandated behavior and worldview. Because the assimilation process bears heavily upon the necessity for Muslim clergy in America to become professional by western standards, this essay explores the complexities of religious secularism as a way of becoming an "American" Muslim. Finally, I suggest liturgical and architectural "adjustments" to western modes of public worship and indicate linguistic niceties that will prove helpful in the assimilation process that I call the "Islamicization of America."
The emergence of the religious nones can create pedagogical challenges due to the multifarious and institutionally disaffiliated nature of this classification. Thus, this article supplies a potential pedagogical technique by revisiting Peter Berger's sacred canopy metaphor. We submit that the religious nones can be understood functionally and structurally by employing "sacred metaphors" based on the sacred canopy. Three metaphors are provided herein to address the three central categories of the nones: unaffiliated believers, agnostics, and atheists. We introduce these sacred metaphors, detail their relevance, and suggest that these "sacred metaphors" present a new way of explaining the complexities of classifying the religious nones.
Can Evangelical Christians and Muslims embrace religious diversity and each other? This essay argues a qualified "yes" marshaling historic, classical, and contemporary resources by and relevant to Evangelical Christians and Muslims, sustaining mutual empathy, humanity, tolerance, religious liberty, integrity in wrestling with seemingly irreconcilable differences, cooperation, theological sharpening, a dynamic open marketplace of ideas, and love. These priorities often extend beyond Muslim and Evangelical relations with each other to invigorate constructive interaction generally among Muslims, Christians, and religiously diverse people in a multi-faith world.
Western culture and ideology have indoctrinated Africans into believing that the West provides the best solutions for any crisis. Africa, a haven for some of the most threatening and destructive conflicts, Zimbabwe included, has failed to realize the power and wisdom of Africans toward solutions and nurturing peace and development. There is an African Initiated Church called Johane Masowe Chishanu (JMC), founded in Salisbury in 1931, which has prescribed, developed, and nurtured some of the best peace-making, "peacekeeping," and peace-building mechanisms for both social and political systems. Some of these prescriptions have laid the foundations for lasting peace, sustainable development, and constructive dialogue in Africa. This paper discusses some of the JMC practices regarding prophecy, confession, hymns, baptism, marriage, and self-employment that have fostered peace in Zimbabwe. JMC works mainly by instilling fear, threatening to foretell secrets, and identifying every church member as a close relative. It has been established that JMC has played an invaluable role in building peace socially, politically, and economically.
Every major religious tradition contains edicts for social justice on behalf of the marginalized, or, the stranger. However, the influence of religion on attitudes toward immigrants has been understudied. Along with other factors, this project analyzes the influence of religion on public sentiment regarding immigration policy in the United States. We find some effects of religious identification and religious behavior on attitudes toward the right to remain in this country, access to social services, and entitlement to public education. Religious measures show no influence on attitudes toward citizenship rights for children of immigrants born in the United States. Religious individuals and communities may play an important role in the acceptance and integration of immigrants.
An evaluation of Norwegian historians' scholarly works concluded that the local and national scopes with respect to impulses and processes were taken for granted. In this article this contention is questioned. A comparison is made between my doctoral thesis on Sport and Protestantism in Southern Norway and three American studies within the scholarly field of muscular Christianity restricted to three topics: theology, Sunday observance, and manliness and masculinity. First, such a comparison has never been done before, and second, it produces important results. Theology is addressed widely in all the studies and plays a significant part in the studies. Sunday observance in the two groups of studies is treated differently, due to the difference of the two contexts. Similarly, the topic of masculinity is a main theme in the U.S. studies, but is hardly mentioned in the Norwegian context.
This article argues for a distinction between credit and debt, for although the two overlap, they are distinct. Thereby, the argument differs from the more common approach that sees them as coterminous, as part of the same economic function. The analysis has two parts, the first of which outlines the distinct functions of credit and debt. In the second part, they are located in their specific social and economic contexts. While credit is primarily the feature of what may be called the subsistence economic regime, based on village communities, debt functions within the system of palatine and temple estates. The argument draws on material from ancient Southwest Asia in order to understand the differences between credit and debt in ancient Israel.
Diverse religious coalitions have been found to be influential in shaping certain foreign policy legislation, but little research has examined the effect of religious coalitions on contemporary domestic legislation. This paper examines the extent to which a diverse religious coalition in Minnesota representing Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims, is more likely to have sway over legislators when they are united than when they are divided. Most members of the legislature claim a religious affiliation that is a part of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition. This paper explores this question by examining twelve legislative votes between 2011 and 2013, including seven where a religious coalition takes a unified position and five where religious groups in the state are divided.
Arguing against the prevalence of the religion and politics discourse, this essay aims to outline a critical interpretation of the unresolved and problematical nature of the State of Israel's approach to Jewish traditions. Such an interpretation, I argue, enables us to both avoid the misconceptions and misinterpretations encouraged by the use of the allegedly transhistorical and transcultural category of "religion" for the study of Jewish politics, and to better understand the foundational political issues that are commonly studied under the title "religion and politics" in Israel. I thus suggest a discussion of several notions that become further clarified by refocusing the framework of discussion and analysis on matters of tradition. These touch upon three central issues: the role of Jewish traditions in (a) the shaping of the Zionist project, (b) the shaping of the Israeli public sphere, and (c) the formation and development of Jewish identities in Israel.
This essay draws on Immanuel Kant's concept of enlightenment as an escape from self- imposed ignorance and argues that a similar concept of enlightenment can be understood within the Muslim context as escape from self-imposed jahiliyyah, which is understood as fear to exercise reason publicly. The article advocates for ijtihad, is critical of Taqlid, and invokes Islamic sources to invest confidence in contemporary use of reason for interpreting Islam.
The Biblical character Enoch is a central figure in early Jewish mystical literature, where his story is redolent with themes related to the concepts of transformation and communion with the Divine. This rich and mythic wisdom significantly influenced American Royal Arch Freemasonry, and through it, early Mormonism. This paper explores the shared aspects of these traditions: where they overlap, and specifically, where Mormonism may rely upon Freemasonry. The Enoch pseudepigrapha and their Masonic and Mormon iterations are presented as a series of related mystical traditions. Linked by common themes of theophany, grand assembly, and heavenly ascent, they are utilized in similar, yet innovative ways to impart spiritual truth to their followers.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) is an Eastern Catholic Church that has had a presence in Canada since the last decades of the nineteenth century. As such it has moved from an immigrant Church to one, like many other established Churches, which must deal with the increasing secularization of contemporary culture. The UGCC has relied on cultural support for the transmission of beliefs and practices. Cultural models, however, rely on substantial and ongoing levels of engagement and it is in these areas that the UGCC is facing significant challenges. Large numbers of its members can be identified as affiliates of the Church but this affiliation is likely to become even more tenuous in the future. In light of this the UGCC needs to explore new transmission models that involve more active engagement with members.
Extant literature on Latinos' policy preferences suggests heightened acculturation is associated with more liberal moral policy preferences, while heightened religiosity is associated with more conservative moral policy preferences. This paper seeks to extend this literature by examining the influence of multiple dimensions of acculturation and religiosity on two contemporary moral policy issues: abortion and same-sex marriage. After controlling for high rates of non-response, we find that acculturation and religiosity work in opposite directions, but in more nuanced ways than previous research identified.
The growing presence of Hinduism and its adherents in India's cyberspace has led to the conceptualization of the categorical identity the 'Internet-Hindu.' Using Castell's theorizing of communication in a network society, this paper articulates a critique on the nature of cyberspace and its use by the Hindu community in the construction of online religious identities. The context of this paper derives from the globalization of technology and computer-mediated communication, which brings to the fore an imperative discourse demanding the critique of whether the presence of Hindu adherents in cyberspace is not an emerging paradox. The thesis of this paper is that information and communication technologies are opening up unlimited horizons of creativity and communication, with possibilities of exploring new dimensions of religious identity in online social action and interaction, thereby challenging our societies to engage in a process of structural change. This paper aims to articulate some introductory comments to this crucial area of exploration.